9/10/2016

How to Plan a Free Community Christmas Dinner

Tight times are prompting nonprofit organizations and churches to organize free community Christmas meals. Organizing free a meal is less challenging than it first appears. Breaking large tasks into small portions will help any church or nonprofit can host a community meal. This article can help any church or organization host a free community Christmas meal. Here is a guide to get you started.
Recruit team members.
Organizing the dinner can take anywhere from a few weeks to months. From the team leader to subcommittees the success of the event depends upon a committed team. The leader of the nonprofit or pastor should be on the team. Kitchen staff, greeters, communications, set-up, breakdown, clean-up and thank you volunteers are needed
Number of guests
Your team determines the number of adults and children who will be fed. Survey your area to determine both need and resources. The survey results will inform your decision on how many people to serve at the free community Christmas dinner.
When
After the survey the team will need to decide what date and time to hold the meal. Some groups decide to host it on Christmas day while other groups will prefer a different day.
Who
The team will need to decide how members will be identified at the meal. Guests and staff will need to be readily identified at a glace. Santa hats or large stickers are often used.
Dinner details
Team members need to decide if the meal will be pot luck, catered or a combination. The group needs to determine if paper goods will be used at the free community Christmas dinner and decide who will obtain them.
Menu
The menu for the free meal often contains turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes (with or without gravy), green beans, rolls and dessert. It may also include ham, macaroni and cheese, a salad and sweet potatoes.
Many groups, but not all, like to have a traditional Christmas menu. When planning a free community Christmas dinner area traditions of the community must be considered. Food needs may vary by community.
Tickets or reservations
Free tickets can control the number of dinners offered. Tickets for the free Christmas meal can be distributed from the office of the church or nonprofit. Prevent fraudulent tickets by printing on bright card stock.
Reservations are an option to printed tickets. A church or organization phone is best for accepting reservations. Take the full name of caller, a phone number and the number of people who will be eating. Use this as a meal checklist later.
Communication
At this point the communication team members should swing into gear. Fliers about the free community meal can be posted in libraries, social service centers, laundromats and in storefront windows. Other possibilities are food pantries, hospitals, fire stations and police department chaplains.
Press releases need to be created and sent, fliers taken to schools and emails should be sent to local bloggers. Signage should be placed.
Set-up and Food preparation
The set-up and food team members should set up a day early. Place all tables, check and wash pots, decorate and evaluate kitchen supplies. Clearly mark all entrances, exits and bathrooms. Check bathrooms supplies the day before the free community Christmas dinner. Stock as necessary.
Greeters
These team members will mark off names, greet guests as they arrive and direct people to serving lines and bathrooms. They are the first faces guests will see at the free community Christmas dinner.
Food
Kitchen crew are responsible for the entire kitchen. They handle all kitchen details from food prep to conclusion.
Tear down
Volunteers who are involved in the tear down should arrive at least 30 minutes before the meal is to end. These team members will clear off and fold tables, sweep, mop, remove trash and be sure that everything is back in order. Help may be recruited from the dinner guests.
Thank you
Be sure to include donors, volunteers and representatives from other organizations or churches. Cards and letters should be sent to everyone who was involved with the free community Christmas meal. This important final step should not be overlooked.

8/29/2016

Tech problems on Overcoming Obstacles

Overcoming Obstacles upload is still having lots of tech problems. It should be resolved shortly. I apologize for the inconvenience. The giveaway will run for 24 hours after the video is uploaded. Look for two videos tomorrow. Thanks for your patience.

8/23/2016

Overcoming Obstacles on Sunday at 7:00 pm Eastern

My new series, Overcoming Obstacles, went live on Sunday. The series is all about overcoming obstacles that stand in our way. I am finding ways to overcome challenges of sexual assault, PTSD, growing up homeless (doubled up), asthma, foot drop, diabetes, an adrenal mass and tons of other health challenges.

Life is meant to be lived. I'm not kicking in the towel and heading for the recliner just yet. There's lots of experiences ahead of me.

Overcoming Obstacles is designed to be interactive. Visitors are encouraged to comment on one another messages to share information. Together, we can each learn tips and techniques that will help us on our journey through life. We can look forward to information, giveaways and guests. We'll laugh and we may cry, but we won't be alone.

The journey continues on Sundays at 7:00 pm Eastern time. Checkout the video below to begin the journey.